The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Wedding Breakfast

Your Wedding Breakfast is one of the 4 key parts of the perfect wedding day.

The others, of course, being the ceremony, drinks reception, and the evening reception.

If you’d like to read about the ultimate wedding drinks reception then click here.

I’ve left only the most minor stones un-turned so there’s a lot to this all. That’s why I’ve set things up so you can click to skip full sections if they’re not relevant to you.

 

For now, let’s concentrate on the ultimate wedding breakfast, starting with why it is so important to get it right.

The importance of the perfect wedding breakfast

The wedding ceremony should be all about emotion, the wedding reception should be about relaxation, ice-breaking and fun but what is the wedding breakfast about.

Well clearly, on its most basic level, it is going to be about your guests eating however it’s definitely a time of the wedding which can be filled with emotion, fun and connection too.

The wedding breakfast is a vital time to refuel and re-energise your guests, wow your guests with styling, food and drinks, hit them hard with emotional and moving speeches and fully prepare them for an evening of excitement.

Perhaps it’s easiest to understand the importance of getting it right but showing the dangers of getting it wrong.

Let’s look at the flipside.

Imagine attending a wedding breakfast like this:

  • Sitting with people that you don’t get on with
  • Left waiting for food
  • Feel no connection to the rest of the room
  • Can’t have conversations with your table

Would you feel valued?
Do you think you would feel excited to be there?
Would you feel invigorated and ready to dance and party into the small hours?

Remember your guests have probably skipped a meal, started drinking much earlier then they normally might and are meeting tens of people that they’ve never met before.

Bottom line, a wedding is a slightly weird and forced scenario for people to find themselves in – it is your job to make it an effortlessly sensational experience for them.

No pressure. 

What’s coming up

Click to jump to a different section.

Ditching the receiving line
Wedding Breakfast seating plan
When should your speeches be
Wedding Breakfast Styling
The Entertainment
Wedding Breakfast Music
The Drinks
The Food

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of the Wedding Breakfast let me first annoy a small group of you with my opinion on something before the wedding breakfast starts.

Receiving line photo by TP Photography

 

It’s time to ditch the receiving line

Your wedding day will probably be the most expensive day of your entire life.

If you broke down the cost of it in terms of how much it was costing you per minute you’d probably cry.

PLEASE don’t actually work this out, or if you do then have a hefty G+T standing by.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I do like the tradition of the receiving line and yes I get that it ensures that the “top table” meets everyone at the wedding.

BUT 

Given that the whole thing takes 30 minutes at least, sometimes longer is that really what you consider to be the best use of time at your wedding?

Is it important that your cousin’s boyfriend kisses the cheek of, and congratulates, your partner’s mum?

What does the receiving line really bring to the day?

Regardless of whether a guest is at the front or the back of the line they will be waiting 30 minutes or so either in the line or at their table.

Is that what you want for your guests? Is that a valuable use of your very expensive wedding time? Wouldn’t you rather they were doing something more fun and interesting?

If you’ve got your heart set on a traditional receiving line then knock yourself out but my advice is to ditch the receiving line entirely.

Greg Thurtle from TP Photography agrees:

“Ditch the receiving line otherwise you can spend hours stood saying the literally same thing to your guests when everyone is just waiting around hungry!”

Now onto the seating plan, unless you’d rather skip that and go straight to the speeches

Wedding seating plan photos

 

Wedding Breakfast Table Seating Plan by Keith Bridle

Wedding breakfast table set-up – Bridle Photography

One Thousand Words Photography Bride and Groom Seats at Wedding Breakfast

Bride and Groom Chairs – One Thousand Words Photography

Wedding Breakfast Table Setup - Two D Photography

Happy Bride and Groom amongst their table setup – Two D Photography

Wedding Breakfast Table Seating Plan by Keith Bridle

Wedding Breakfast Table Setup – Bridle Photography

One Thousand Words Photography Bride and Groom Seats at Wedding Breakfast

Bride and Groom Chairs – One Thousand Words Photography

Wedding Breakfast Table Setup - Two D Photography

Bride and Groom stand amongst their Wedding Breakfast setup – Two D Photography

The wedding breakfast seating plan

One of a couple’s biggest worries so I thought I’d dive straight into this and give you three different options on sorting it out once and for all.

But first table choices and for the love of God unless you have your heart absolutely set on banquet style tables then don’t have them.

Banquet tables can look great, particularly with exquisite styling but the guest experience can suffer purely due to the shape of them.

Guests on a banquet style table can only really communicate with the 4-5 people in their immediate vicinity. 

It’s too easy for guests to feel alienated from each other by unintentionally turning their backs on their fellow guests.

Round tables do not suffer the same issues since guests are not wedged shoulder to shoulder with their compatriots.

Guests will typically have more space in front of them and more arm room as well.

Onto the seating plan.

Option 1 – Don’t have a wedding breakfast seating plan

If you’re having a more relaxed wedding, particularly one that has a buffet, hog roast or BBQ style catering then avoid the stress of it all by simply not having a seating plan.

Trust that people will sit with the people that they feel comfortable sitting with and all will be fine.

This is not as much of a possibility for more formal sit down meals as caterers will need to know where food is going, also you will probably want your closest friends and family sat in certain positions so that you’re closer to them.

Option 2 – Have a wedding breakfast seating plan

I’ll be honest, unless you’re having a very casual wedding then you need a seating plan but fear not, I’m here for you with a simple and effective way to organise it.

Step 0 – Get a plan

Ask your wedding venue for a table layout for you to work from.

Step 1 – Your top table

There’s a few different options here, let me talk you through them. 

The traditional top table setup

This will consist of 8 people, this is the traditional setup from left to right for a hetero couple.
Maid of Honour, Groom’s Father, Bride’s Mother, Groom, Bride, Bride’s Father, Groom’s Mother, Best Man. 

This can clearly be complicated if there have been separations, divorces, remarriages etc but I can say that in general everyone just puts any differences aside for the day and everyone gets on.

This typically means that the traditional setup will work for most people. 

Just the two of you

For many reasons you may want to have a top table consisting of just the two of you. All other parents can be sat elsewhere with their respective partners.

This can be the perfect solution for any friction between parents/step parents. 

I’ve seen this done quite a number of times now and personally I think it just makes the couple look too separate but that’s entirely my opinion. 

The merry-go-round

This is definitely not called the Merry-Go-Round but that’s what I’m calling it.

Rather than have a top table the couple select the 3 tables they’d like to sit at during the wedding breakfast.

Two chairs are left spare at these three tables, the couple start on one table and then move at the end of each course.

I’ve seen this a handful of times, on one hand it does work but on the other it seems like a lot of faff.

It would be amiss of me to not mention it as an option though.

Step 2 – Group your guests

Now the “fun” begins.

Time to start grouping your guest list into “tables” – we’re only concerning ourselves with “who” at the moment, don’t worry about “where” yet.

Some Dos and Don’ts

Do group people together with people they know

Don’t play matchmaker with a table of single people.

Do feel free to create a kids only table

Don’t find yourself in a situation where you have a “leftovers” table.

Do be flexible with your table sizes (if your venue allows)

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from parents etc about who older relatives should sit with

Do be wary of the “lads only” table.

Don’t forget that a “lasses only” table can be just as bad!

You’ll hopefully finish this step off and have a list of people in appropriate group sizes ready for the next step.

Step 3 – Rank your groups

Not a step for Jonathan Ross to introduce.

With your groups not firmly set in your mind and hopefully a bit of paper it’s time for you to decide basically who is most important to your wedding.

You literally might not want your wedding to go ahead without certain guests there and then there are others who barely made the cut.

That’s not a judgement, that’s just fact.

It more or less goes without saying that your close friends and immediate family are going to be at the top of the list but who are the people and groups that are, shall we say, less important or if we’re being really rude “making up the numbers”. 

Who said that? That definitely wasn’t me.

This might sound slightly “off” but if you have 10 tables then rank your groups from 1-10 with your favourite being number 1.

Don’t worry, no-one else ever has to see this list. But just in case you should definitely burn it after finishing this all.

Don’t hate me for making you do this either.

Step 4 – Rank your tables

You’ll see where this is going after this step.

Look at your table plan and work out which tables are in prime position for announcements, speeches, distance from the top table etc.

With this in mind now rank your, for example, 10 tables from 1-10 exactly as you did with your groups.

NB – It is definitely worth checking with the venue about entrances, disabled access, high chairs etc. It may become instantly clear that a certain group/person may HAVE to sit at a certain table purely from circumstance.

Step 5 – Match it all up

If it wasn’t immediately apparent you’re now going to put your favourite people on the best table, second best on the second best etc.

Work your way down the list until all the groups are seated.

Step 6 – Make adjustments

Some people just don’t get on.

Others are just idiots after half a pint of shandy.

Whereas some people have history.

Look at the who has ended up on adjacent tables and just double check with your partner (and perhaps parents/friends) that no-one will be sitting too close to anyone that might cause drama.

Sidenote – I have experienced only one unsavoury incident across the 300-400 weddings I’ve performed at.

It was dealt with swiftly and courteously, the person had simply drunk too much and brought up some things that didn’t need mentioning.
He was sent away from the venue in a taxi.
It wasn’t a source of gossip, it didn’t put anything sour on the day, everyone else was there to have a great day and they did irrespective of this selfish idiot’s actions.

Step 7 – Finalise your wedding breakfast table plan

You just need to decide where on the table people are going to sit.

Want to skip this step? Then just assign people to a table rather than a seat.

If you want to get it sorted to a T, and some caterers will want you to, then simply sit people next to who you think they’ll get on with most.

The most recent wedding I attended as a guest I was sat with some people I didn’t recognise at all.

We’d travelled 4 hours to get there the previous day and it turned out we’d been seated together because we were all from Dorset, 5 minutes of chatting later and it turns out we had quite a few mutual friends.

You’re dealing with, apparent, grown-ups, they should be able to all just get on for one meal time!

Step 8 – RELAX

Reward yourself with a gin and tonic, glass of wine, beer, or cool refreshing elderflower cordial!

Next up we talking about the speeches, unless you’d rather hop to Styling

 

Photos of wedding speeches

Speech at the Wedding Breakfast at Pennsylvania Castle

Outdoor wedding speech – TP Photography

Guest loving a wedding speech - One Thousand Words Photography

Guest clapping and cheering a speech – One Thousand Words Photography

Guest cheers at a Wedding Breakfast Speech

Cheers everyone! – Two D Photography

Father of the Bride Speech - Bridle Photpgraphy

Father of the bride speech enthralls a crowd – Bridle Photography

Speech at the Wedding Breakfast at Pennsylvania Castle

Outside Wedding Speech – TP Photography

Guest cheers at a Wedding Breakfast Speech

Cheers Everyone! – Two D Photography

Guest loving a wedding speech - One Thousand Words Photography

Guest clapping a wedding speech – One Thousand Words Photography

Guests enthralled by a Father of the Bride Speech – Bridle Photography

Outside Wedding Speech – TP Photography

Dorset Wedding Magician Chris Piercy performing his mindreading show at Athelhampton House, Dorset

Having a performance at the wedding breakfast from a magician like myself is a fun and unique way of bringing your guests together

Find Out More

When should your speeches be?

One of the most memorable, emotional and enjoyable parts of the wedding breakfast is the speeches. Not only are they traditional but they allow those closest to the couple to share their feelings, stories and hopes. 

It has always been traditional for speeches to be the end of formal proceedings making way for the fun to begin.

In the 10 years I’ve been performing at weddings there has been a rise in speeches being at the start of the meal. 

I have previously written a full blog on this if you want to read that. 

Ultimately both ways work, so don’t sweat over the decision too much. I’m personally of the opinion that speeches should be after the meal.

Firstly because I genuinely feel as if the wedding breakfast needs “something” to close it out.
With “something” people just finish eating and then sit there awkwardly until they’re told they can leave.

The “something” doesn’t HAVE to be the speeches, I’ll explain more about that in the entertainment section, but there does need to be a thing. 

Aside from this guests have often skipped lunch as they were getting ready. They’ve maybe been drinking for a few hours now, only had perhaps a few canapes to keep them going and they are going to be hungry.

Sitting down at your table only to be told the speeches (which can be anything from 20 minutes to an hour and a half) are first is demoralising to hungry guests who at this stage just want to eat. 

The argument, of course, is that nervous speakers want to get it over and done with. 

And don’t worry, I get it. 

As a former hypnotherapist I know that public speaking is a big issue for a lot of people.
However, it’s easier than you think.

The easiest crowd 

This isn’t giving a presentation at work.
Or trying to convince a team of people to change their minds.
And it isn’t trying to educate people on a subject. 

It is standing in a room of people who are desperate to hear what they’ve got to say.

Guests don’t care about the delivery, charisma levels, and they certainly don’t care about stuttering, stumbling or making mistakes. 

Guests just want to hear what speakers have to say.

Their stories, feelings and emotions. 

Honestly, you wouldn’t be able to find an easier audience to speak to anywhere in the world. 

Given that guests just want to eat when they sit down PLUS removing the idea that it matters if the speeches are bad or delivered poorly there really isn’t any reason why the speeches should be at the start.

Even the most poorly delivered speeches I’ve heard have been applauded just as much the best – it’s almost unfair on the great speeches!

Those are just my thoughts from experiencing hundreds of speeches.

There is one other option though, I’ll be honest I’ve only seen it done once and I wasn’t a fan of it but I’m sharing it as an idea for completeness.

There are typically 3 speeches and 3 courses at a wedding breakfast.

You therefore can fill in the time by having a speech between each course.

This has the problem of working around or talking over the catering staff as they clear tables and honestly I just again feel like it’s far too much like faff but it’s an option for you to perhaps consider.

Sarah from Two D Photography agrees, pretty strongly with this:

“Do NOT do speeches between courses, people will still be eating (quietly and awkwardly) whilst people are talking, the chefs will be going mad, and your videographer will be exhausted”

What I’d like to see more of

Whilst I do like some of the traditional features of wedding I am personally not a fan of the lack of speeches from women.

Of all the hundreds of speeches I’ve heard one of the very best, and funniest, was a maid of honour speech.

It was like a best man speech on steroids, she really didn’t hold back at all and had the whole room fully attentive and completely in stitches. 

I would love to hear more Maid of Honour speeches and Mother of the Groom speeches – can you imagine the stories she could tell. 

Sticking to tradition is absolutely fine but that’s just a suggestion if you want to make your wedding stand out even further. Wedding Styling next, unless you’d rather jump to entertainment?

Photos of wedding breakfast styling

 

Rustic Barn Wedding Breakfast - TP Photography

Rustic Barn Setup at a Dorset wedding – TP Photography

Lulworth Castle Wedding Breakfast Setup - One Thousand Words Photography

Hanging paper lanterns and huge centrepieces at Lulworth CastleOne Thousand Words Photography

Close-up wedding breakfast table setup - Two D Photography

A classic simple wedding table setup – Two D Photography

Luxury Wedding Breakfast Styling - Bridle Photography

Luxury blue and gold wedding styling – Bridle Photography

Rustic Barn Wedding Breakfast - TP Photography

Rustic Barn Wedding Breakfast Setup – TP Photography

Close-up wedding breakfast table setup - Two D Photography

Uncluttered table. Menu, Favours, Flowers, Glasses, Wine and Cardboard hearts – Two D Photography

Lulworth Castle Wedding Breakfast Setup - One Thousand Words Photography

Paper lanterns and Huge floral centrepieces at Lulworth CastleOne Thousand Words Photography

Luxury Wedding Breakfast Styling - Bridle Photography
Dark Blue and Gold Luxury Wedding Styling - Bridle Photography
Dark Blue and Gold Luxury Wedding Styling - Bridle Photography

Gold and Dark Blue Luxury Wedding Styling – Bridle Photography

Wedding breakfast styling

Let’s be utterly clear, I’m a wedding magician, not a wedding stylist.

I’m certainly not qualified to tell you exactly what will work with what.

Nor can I tell you what colours are going to be best with your flowers etc.

What I can tell you is practical tips for your styling which might help make difficult decisions easier.

Your guests are far more concerned about the food than anything else, if your wedding breakfast styling just consists of a white table cloth and a table number in the middle that’s absolutely fine.

If however, your goal within your wedding is for it to stand out and be memorable then your wedding breakfast styling is going to go a long way towards that.

Before going into the full details of styling, here’s some wise words from Kirsty of Fundoo Weddings – one of the best stylists I’ve ever worked with:

“Before confirming your styling, try to think about the look, feel and atmosphere you want to create for your wedding breakfast and then add your colours and personal touches.

Lighting and candlelight are so important here as well as a special backdrop for you and your top table guests for speeches as you will have lots of photographs taken here. Perhaps a candle filled mantel piece, a large floral arrangement or a decorative arch to suit your style.

Try to think equally about the details and the overall look of the room as your guests walk in. This is where you and your guests will spend a lot of time on the day so the WOW factor and attention to detail is key.”

Wise words indeed!

Wedding breakfast styling impact

If you are planning on having a wedding that stands in the WOW category then one of the necessary ingredients is a well styled wedding breakfast.

Upon entering your wedding breakfast room your styling should make an impact on your guests that makes them almost stop and stare.

This may mean that it is different, it is pretty, it is unusual or even extravagant,

The colours should flow from your theme whether that be predetermined by your flower choice or just a colour palette that matches, for example, the groom’s suit.

More usually isn’t more

It can be tempting to keep adding bits of styling to a table to “finish” it off.

Too much “stuff” can make a table feel crowded and cramped. The last thing that guests want is to feel like there isn’t enough space on the table or feeling claustrophobic whilst eating.

Wedding Stylist Rachel Pertee from Love by Design Weddings has this to say

Don’t overcrowd your tables. Once the wine bottles, water jugs, glasses etc. are on the tables, there isn’t a lot of room. So keep favours small and where possible incorporate the name tag into them. Provide children’s activity packs in bags that can be hung from their chairs rather than in boxes.”

More from Rachel shortly.

Styling options

The experience of a stylist who has worked at your venue at least a couple of times before is invaluable. They will be able to show you their previous dressings plus they will be able to tell you whether your vision of how you want your wedding to look is possible.

There are either four options or two options depending on how you look at things.

Given that this is an “ultimate guide to wedding breakfasts” I think it’s important I cover all four.

The two options would be “do you own styling” or “hire someone to do your styling”. However the “hire someone” is something which can be broken down into 3 options.

Doing your own styling:

This is clearly appealing to those trying to say money, it has the appearance that it would be the very cheapest way of doing things.

Making items yourself, enlisting help of others, buying styling bits in to then sell on again afterwards.
There are also ‘Wedding Car Boot Sales’ popping where you can purchase items previously used at other people’s weddings.

In terms of straight up expenditure it is probably the cheapest way of styling a wedding but it will be a huge time drain.

Many, many more hours than you think it will be.

Also, something to consider is that do you REALLY want to spend the eve of your wedding night at your venue tying chair sashes, hanging fairy lights, dressing tables etc.

Do you really want to be at the top of a 10ft ladder hanging paper lanterns at 11pm?

And it gets worse.
You’re also going to have to get to the venue early, possibly hungover, the next day to take it all down again.
And you may even have to delay the dressing to the morning of your wedding depending on your venue.

Yes, this will probably be the cheapest option but your time and your experience of your wedding day cannot be bought back with the money you save.

A budget stylist:

There are any number of wedding stylists out there who fall into the “budget” category, you will be looking to pay something in the region of £500.

I want to openly state that there is nothing wrong with going with a cheaper option to fit your budget.

However your expectations need to be managed in terms of what can be delivered for that price.

Consider that the stylist will have several other people to pay, laundry costs, cost of storage units, insurances, costs of cleaning stock on top of all the general business costs as well as tax and national insurance to pay.

In order for this stylist to make a living they will have to have made sacrifices on what they’re able to deliver.

As I said, I’m not saying that they’re not going to be good but they will struggle to deliver luxury because financially they simply won’t be able to do it.

Quality wedding stylist:

If you have a particular style in mind, a true vision of what you want created then booking a quality wedding stylist is the best way of achieving this.

It will take up a larger portion of your budget, say £1,000 – £2,000, but if you’re looking for a visually stunning wedding with a beautifully styled wedding breakfast then this is the way to go.

They will not cut any corners, they will be able to make your vision come to life and there will be little or no effort from you or any of your wedding party required on the day.

Luxury wedding stylist:

For the grandiose wedding that will be remembered for all time then booking a luxury stylist is an absolute must.

They will have ideas, stock, props, insight and vision unlike anyone else you could book.

I’ve seen actual trees used as centrepieces, I’ve seen £5,000 flowers arches, I’ve seen pretty much everything.

This is not for the faint of heart or those constrained by budget, it may take several thousand pounds from your budget.

For those that want a wedding that is truly unique and delivers an aesthetic knock-out blow this really is the only way to go. 

Seating plan

There are roughly 9,873 different ways you can display your seating plan to your guests.

Typically a large board will display the table numbers or names and list the guests at that table underneath.

You have this on a mirror, an old palette, a blackboard or anything really – I only have two tips to help with this.

Tip #1 – As beautiful as swirly, scripty fonts look the most important thing is clarity. I’ve been at weddings where guests are stopped, staring at a seating plan for literally minutes trying to work out what words say due to the font.

So, make your writing clear! Prioritise clarity over pretty.

Tip #2 – Consider your seating plan placement or even having two seating plans for large weddings. Typically most seating plans are found right at the entrance to the wedding breakfast. Whilst this would seem to make logical sense it tends to cause a bottleneck as people stand blocking the door. This prevents people who already know where they’re sitting from going in as well as blocking staff etc.

Move the seating plans away from the entrance and have two seating plans if you have over 100 guests.

Get creative with your seating plan.
The best I’ve ever seen was a table filled with lego mini-figures. Each unique character had a guest’s name on it and then told them where to sit – it was such a fun and unique way of doing it.

Which brings us onto the table’s themselves.

Table names/numbers 

I personally feel that a wedding is all about stamping your personalities on the day itself. A really nice way to do this is with uniquely named tables.

These can be cities you’ve visited, bands that you like, in-jokes, favourite colours, or anything; I’ve seen it all.

If choosing to go with table names rather than numbers then ensure that things are clear.

Typically a numbered table system can easily be ascertained from the room layout once you’ve seen one number. A named table system doesn’t have that luxury.

This ties in with getting your seating plan spot on as this should have told people where the table is, not just which table they’re sat at.

Centrepieces

You can go small and subtle with these or huge and lavish, each have their benefits.
The one thing which is an absolute do not is to have centrepieces which are “head height”. It is infuriating to guests to not be able to see and hence communicate with guests opposite them.

More couples are cottoning onto this idea but a few years back it wasn’t unheard of to see tables removing expensive centrepieces from their table and leaving them on the floor!

More from Rachel from Love by Design Weddings, this time on saving money on your styling. 

“Reuse the decor from your ceremony in your wedding breakfast – for example, using the aisle decor as part of your centrepieces will not only save you money, it will also ensure a continuity of your colour scheme and theme throughout your day.“

Scatterings

If you’re confused by the subheading “scatterings” then don’t worry, so am I.

It’s the best general term I could think of for things that are scattered on the table. Things like glitter, rose petals, crystals etc.

On one hand they can feel as if they complete the look.

On the other hand the lighter things such as glitter and rose petals end up getting everywhere in particular food, especially if there is a breeze. Whereas the big things like crystals are the cause of countless wine spillages as glasses are placed on top of them unknowingly and then it’s too late.

If you’ve got your heart set on them then go for it, otherwise, I promise it’s better to avoid them.

Chair covers/sashes

A great way to continue your colour theme throughout the day, these chairs may well be the same ones used from the ceremony. 

Chair decor can be simplistic in order to draw attention towards the table styling or you can make them more exuberant and part of the bigger picture.

The chairs can perhaps feel slightly unimportant, it’s just something you sit on right? Not quite, you will be amazed the amount a simple sash can transform even the dullest of chairs.

You may have a colour palette or perhaps a single colour, the chair sashes is an easy and effective way of carrying that through your day.
If you have a single colour then the amount of seats at your table is not particularly relevant.

For two colours, or if you’re only dressing half the chairs, then ensure that you have an even number of seats at each table. Odd numbers will stop an alternating pattern working.

Ceiling dressing

Whether it’s coloured paper lanterns, fairy lights, foliage or drapes, dressing the ceiling of a venue can be very transformative.

A good wedding stylist will be able to elevate even the most plain canvas, such as a village hall, into a much more elaborate and striking setting for you to celebrate your wedding day.

You will have to speak to your venue about how and where you’re allowed to install/hang things from the ceiling, an experienced wedding stylist will be able to deal with any eventuality.

Doing your own ceiling dressings is problematic for a variety of reasons, not least because it is very hard to know what will look good in a particular venue until it is up.
This is the value of a professional stylist.

Place settings

Your place setting will typically consist of your napkin, cutlery, place-card and wedding favours.

Napkins: Typically a simple thing to match in with the colour theme, style wise they should be either ironed flat or intricately folded to make a show of them.

Cutlery: This is supplied by your caterers more often than not. For the more basic meals such as hog roasts etc it may just be one size fits all. For high quality dining there may well be a selection to choose from in order to match your style.
You will also be able to hire cutlery from outside sources if the caterer’s options do not feel correct.

Place cards: Normally determined by the rest of your stationery and matches well with your seating plan and the original wedding invitations that were sent out.  

Carly from Handmade by Mrs.M has this to add:
Ask your stationer to print the name of each course that your guest has requested on the back of their name place card to help the dinner service run smoothly.”

SIDE NOTE – Some people fail to realise that the importance of the wedding invite is that it sets expectations of the theme, colours and style of the wedding. 

Wedding favours: I have a love-hate relationship with them. It is often the case that the wedding favours just feel to me like a huge waste of money. Spend £3 on 100 guests and that’s £300 gone.

That’s absolutely fine, obviously, if the favours are appreciated.

Unfortunately it is incredibly common for these to be overlooked, ignored, missed or simply forgotten because guests have other things on their minds.

My opinion is “Go hard or go home or go sentimental.”

Go hard: Buy items which are genuinely going to be enjoyed, alcohol is normally a good shout, as is sweets, consumables tend to be a hit. (You made need to check before bringing alcohol into your venue.)

Go home: Just don’t bother, tell everyone that there’s a drink/shot behind the bar on you if you feel like you’re being too tight with the purse strings.

Go sentimental: One of the best wedding favours I’ve seen is a short note or in some cases a letter, written from the couple to every single guest.
An investment of time rather than money for sure and one that was well received by all. What can you do, ostensibly for free, to hit the right notes with your guests emotionally?

You’re probably all styled out which is lucky because wedding entertainment is next, unless you’d rather skip through to music

Wedding breakfast entertainment photos

 

Dorset Wedding Magician Chris Piercy performing his mindreading show at Athelhampton House, Dorset

That’s ME performing an after dinner mindreading show – Will Wareham Photography

One Thousand Words Photography Bride and Groom Seats at Wedding Breakfast
Guests play table game at Wedding Breakfast - Two D Photography

Wedding guests enjoy a table quiz game- Two D Photography

Trivial Pursuit at a Wedding Breakfast - One Thousand Words Photography

Trivial Pursuit at a board game themed setup – One Thousand Words Photography

Dorset Wedding Magician Chris Piercy performing his mindreading show at Athelhampton House, Dorset

Post wedding breakfast mindreading show by me (Chris Piercy Magic)- Will Wareham Photography

Guest cheers at a Wedding Breakfast Speech

Close-Up Magic at the start of the Wedding Breakfast at Lulworth Castle – Lemontree Photography

Guests play table game at Wedding Breakfast - Two D Photography

Guests play a table game at the wedding breakfast – Two D Photography

Trivial Pursuit at a Wedding Breakfast - One Thousand Words Photography
Trivial Pursuit at a Wedding Breakfast - One Thousand Words Photography

Trivial pursuit at a board game themed wedding breakfast – One Thousand Words Photography

 

Wedding breakfast entertainment

Now for my speciality, entertainment, and you might be surprised to hear what I have to say about this.

Firstly, just quickly to note that I will be covering music in a separate category.

As a magician I frequently get asked about the best and worst times to have entertainment. I’m genuinely of the belief that your wedding breakfast is the worst part of the day to have entertainment.

Let’s be clear, I’m not saying don’t have entertainment at all then but honestly take some thought to consider if it is the right option for your wedding.

Let me explain.

The role of wedding entertainment

Now this might come as a huge shock to you but the role of entertainment is to keep your wedding guests entertained.

This is less about what the entertainment is and much more about when it is. When couples ask about when to have me perform; my answer is always the same: “Book me to perform at the time when there is the least amount of things going on for your guests.”

Typically this means that the bulk of my performances are either at the drinks reception or between the wedding breakfast finishing and the evening reception.

So, can I not perform around the wedding breakfast? Of course I can!
Do guests not like it? Of course they do!

So what’s the issue dear?

The issue is that guests actually have lots going on for them during the wedding breakfast.
They’re finding their table and seat, they’re meeting the rest of their table, they’re taking in the decor, being reminded of their menu choices and most importantly they’re eating their meal.

The point is that during the wedding breakfast there isn’t an awful lot of “down time” during the wedding breakfast.

I’ll be clear, I can and do perform during wedding breakfasts but honestly, I don’t think this is the very best time to have any entertainment.

If you do want entertainment at your wedding breakfast then I strongly advise that you have something either at the beginning or at the end.

I don’t see their being much value at all or much bang for your buck by booking entertainment between the meal courses.

Let’s say that your wedding breakfast is 2.5 hours long – if you booked entertainment for this period you would possibly get an hour, maybe an hour-and-half’s worth of entertainment time from this.

If I’m booked for a full day package including hosting the day my personal recommendation for most wedding breakfasts is to have me performing until the first course comes out and then have a break for the remainder of it.

The very best time to have wedding breakfast entertainment is performance to the entire wedding party after the meal and speeches have concluded.

The exception to this

There is an exception to this all though.

If you have a very large wedding breakfast (let’s say well over 120 people) then there is an opportunity to have entertainment between courses.

Due to the large number of tables that you’ll have there will be a constant stream of people to perform for. 

For example, if you have 15 tables then table 15 will likely get served last. They can experience a performance of 10-15 minutes whilst the other tables are being served.